We Talked To Austere About Tonight's Hell-Themed Fashion Show.

Though there's no denying that Dallas is full of all kinds of interesting, stylish characters. Still: North Texas exactly isn't the first place that comes to mind when one thinks of groundbreaking fashion trends.

But should it be?

More and more of late, the Dallas fashion scene has been making a case for itself and clamoring for attention through over-the-top, themed fashion shows.

Two recent examples of that immediately come to mind are the futuristic “Man As Machine” fashion show, which blurred the lines between the human being and the technology that our consumes our daily lives, and the self-explanatory zombie-themed “Dallas Is Dead” show, both of which took place last month.

Because three makes a trend, tonight's Austere Magazine-hosted “Inferno” fashion show — which takes its inspiration from Dante's Inferno — should similarly prove an interesting showcase.

For more reasons than just the one reason, though. Sure, a fashion show in which the nine levels of hell are depicted by six different designers from the North Texas, Austin, Portland and New Orleans — and that also includes performance artists and contortionists — is interesting enough in its own right. But more interesting, perhaps, is the bigger picture regarding what a show like “Inferno” means for Austere Magazine. That's because there's a bit of a rebellious spirit behind everything the magazine does, starting with its landscape-oriented layout and heavy focus on appealing visuals. To hear Austere Magazine's chief creative director, Natasha Brito tell it, it's because the company likes to think of itself as more than just a magazine.

“The main thing that makes it a culture and not just a magazine is the fact that we don't just publish the magazine,” Brito says. “Obviously, as you can see, we're hosting an event — but it's not just a regular event that any other company would do, it's a fashion show. We try to embrace all forms and fashions of culture, from fashion to art to music to pretty much anything. We hosted a music festival before, we've done art shows, and now this is our first fashion show. We're not ever going to try to stick to the mold of 'Oh, we're a magazine company, we should only do things that magazines do.' It's our company; we should just do whatever the hell we want! And that's the idea, we want to embrace all types of creatives, and give them a light, and a place to showcase their creativity and their amazing work — even if they don't know how to do it themselves.”

Altruistic as all that sounds, Brito insists that Austere's motives are pure and have more to do with genuinely fostering a community of creativity among its growing readership. As that audience expands, says Brito, its primary goal of being a source of positive inspiration is always top of mind.

“We're trying to just figure out different ways of communicating with the audience creatively and not just telling them to come to an event because they can listen to live music and see live art,” she says. “It's more like, 'How can we be a part of their day-to-day in a positive or inspiring way?' So we're just constantly trying to crank out these new innovative ways of getting people in person with each other, and growing as creatives in general. We just genuinely want to show people that, no matter what we do, we work really, really hard to make it as perfect and entertaining and inspiring as possible. We try really hard to not half-ass anything that we do. So this will hopefully just be another opportunity to show that, with hard work and dedication and a lot of people believing in something and not getting a lot out of it financially, you can truly come together as a team and create something beautiful.”

All that hard work — a whole eight months worth, says Austere co-owner Gabrielle Losada — should pay off with an event as edgy as the fiery fashion show Austere has planned for tonight.

“We basically didn't want to do a fashion show like everyone else,” Losada says. “We wanted to do a fashion show our way. Fashion has always been about breaking the rules, so we're breaking them a lot in this show — and we're really excited about it. We're really wanting to push people's buttons, and get them excited, maybe scare them a little bit, maybe make them feel a little uncomfortable. I think that's going to be the greatest part about it.”

She's right: It's hard to imagine an artistic endeavor being considered inspirational if it lacks some kind of wow factor or shock value. That's a big reason why we anticipate seeing more of these out-of-the-ordinary fashion shows announced in the coming months — at least if Austere has anything to say about it.

“Influential art isn't something that makes people feel comfortable and happy all the time,” Losada says. “Sometimes you really need to make them feel uncomfortable to feel something.”

Cover photo via. “Inferno” goes down at Lofty Spaces (816 Montgomery Street) tonight. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show starts at promptly at 9 p.m.

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